The Equality Act drew attention in the media during 2019 but since then has seemingly slipped out of focus, why is that? If you're not familiar with The Equality Act, it is a bill introduced
Same-Sex Couples 73% More Likely to Be Denied Mortgages and Charged Higher Finance Fees, Study Shows
Equality (and equity) has come a long way for homebuyers and sellers but still struggles on the federal level and in a handful of states along the country. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity are still not protected classes under the federal Fair Housing Act, which means you can still be denied housing opportunities if you're gay, lesbian, trans or anything regarding who you are or who you love. It's almost 2020, and that needs to change.
On a state level, more than half the states in the country (28 to be exact) have no statewide laws protecting those in the LGBTQ+ community. 2 of them have some laws but not full protection and only 20 states in our country have full protection for those falling under the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity guidelines. As an openly gay Realtor, I am fortunate to live in the great state of New York, where there are full protections for LGBTQ+ members.
However, there is much work to be done. A recent study by Iowa State University "analyzed national mortgage data from 1990 to 2015 and found the approval rate for same-sex couples was 3 to 8 percent lower. The study also included a smaller dataset with more detail about applicants’ work history and credit worthiness. Based on this data, same-sex applicants were 73 percent more likely to be denied than heterosexual couples."
You could try to make the argument that those in the LGBTQ+ community have worse financial statistics than those who are not, but you'd be wrong. "Same-sex couples did have slightly lower credit scores than their straight peers, the study found: an average credit score of 750, compared with 754 for straight couples." A 750 credit score compared to 754 isn't going to make or break any deal, like, ever.
Additionally, "[same-sex couples] made slightly more money, with an average household income of $104,000 versus $97,000 for male-female couples. These credit scores and incomes were averages from 1990 to 2015. And same-sex couples weren't any more likely to default on their loans, according to the study."
The results of this study are concerning to say the absolute least. We have work to do. What I can offer though, is if you are a homebuyer or homeseller in New York and you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, is assurance. As a member of this community, I can give you peace of mind with not only myself but all of the people I recommend as part of the process from inspectors to attorneys will treat you with the love and respect that you deserve. If you've got any questions, you know who to call.
Wishing you all a warm and inclusive holiday season,
Licensed Real Estate Salesperson | J Philip Real Estate, LLC.